Anheuser-Busch ran into a bit of a PR-SNAFU after Hurricane Katrina, when their contribution of canned drinking water  to the post-Katrina relief effort was deemed by some to be self-serving and inappropriate. They had included a large Anheuser-Busch logo on an otherwise generic can. (An example of the criticism: here)
For some, the humanitarian benefits were overshadowed by the negative impression of a company using disaster relief as a branding opportunity. Evidence of corporate cynicism or a blog-o-spherical tempest in a teapot?
Reminds me quite a bit of the “Anonymous Donor” episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry David not only ‘adopts’ an African-American family, whose home had been lost to Hurricane ‘Edna,’ but also contributes enough money to have a new "Larry David” wing built for The Natural Resources Defense Council.
His altruism is called into question, however, when Ted Danson  also donates money for a new wing, anonymously. By contrast, Larry feels that his motives are being unfairly impugned and that Danson’s contribution is “anonymous” in name only. (Since everyone seems to know full well that it was Danson’s contribution that built the “Anonymous” wing.)
With that in mind, it seems like Anheuser-Busch’s biggest sin was a lack of subtlety. A generic, non-branded can would have appeared more altruistic. And, as with Ted Danson, word would have gotten around about where the water came from.
- In my interview last month with Bottlemania author, Elizabeth Royte—(here)—in explaining why PET bottles helped to make bottled water so popular, she alluded to research which proves that Americans do not like the taste of water from aluminum cans.
- Does it strike anyone else that the current practice of people “playing themselves” in fictional story lines is a kind of product placement?
Beach Packaging Design